There are so many licenses that honestly they are making me dizzy. Here is what I want to do:

  1. require my copyright notice and no-warranty statement.

  2. permit people to use + run my code.

  3. don't permit people to modify my code because I don't want to see hybrids of mine+others' files out there.

  4. permit people to incorporate my code as a library in their projects.

  5. permit people to copy, sell, distribute my code.

The modification issue stems from my not wanting to fuss over what part of a modified file was my code and what is the other person's. I would prefer if people email me to point out bugs or make suggestions.

Is there such a license out there?

  • 7
    This would not be an open source license - the freedom to modify is one of the core definitions of open source. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 7:26
  • 1
    @PhilipKendall that's the answer. As per this question, please consider (fleshing it out a little and) posting it as one, so it can be upvoted and (hopefully) accepted.
    – MadHatter
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 8:17
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it explicitly asks for a license prohibiting modifications. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 12:29
  • @curiousdannii This is just a typical misunderstanding, caused by a name that seems to but does not describe what it is. Unfortunately to understand Open Source you need to memorise the definition. Or you can understand Free Software, and realise that they are the same software, but different philosophy. Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 8:51
  • It may be worth pointing out another reason not to want other people to modify your software. While I would like other people to benefit from the project I have in mind, it's a hobby project in a language I don't get to use during the day, and I want the fun of doing my own development! Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Epsilon is a software which chose to use a license as you describe. Here is a talk about that license and the different problems it can cause:


What you are looking for would be this type of license:


I do not really see a problem with others playing with your code. In most cases, though the source remains the main version and the forks are only checked for possible enhancements and/or bugs that would need to be fixed in the main source. So it can really be helpful to have people help you improve your work.

For Epsilon, I suppose it is from a company and a team works on the project.

If you're by yourself, why not have a few people help every now and then?!

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    Two remarks: 1. Creative Commons discourages the use of their licenses for software. 2. A larger product that uses a library can be seen as a derivative work of that library. This would go against the No Derivatives clause of the CC BY-NC-ND license. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 8:52
  • Yeah, I do not know of other licenses that offer what the OP is looking for. And as you mention, it opens all sorts of can of worms. Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 9:57
  • Not all creative commons licences are Free/Open source. e.g. the nc and nd ones. Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 10:33

There is no Open Source licence.

see extract from definition https://opensource.org/osd

  1. Derived Works The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

However did you know that this does not mean that people have permission to edit your copy of the code. And a licence is not the way to stop people breaking your personal files.

  • Then "open source" is a misnomer.
    – user15474
    Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 13:34
  • @user15474 yes the name is confusing, I agree. It is pure abstract and has little connection to its meaning. This is one reason that I prefer to say Free Software. This way the only confusion is on which meaning of Free I am using (Free as in freedom, not Free as in a contraction of free-of-charge). Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 15:39
  • @user15474 Can you enlighten as to why you down-voted?, so that I can correct the answer. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 15:41

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